Osteoporosis; bone health

Osteoporosis effects bones. Bones are living tissue, porous, consisting of a matrix of collagen and minerals. It is in a continual state of flux i.e remodelling. Most of the adult bone density is fully developed by 17 years and remains strong until into 30’s, at which point the ageing process takes affect slowly.


During aging, the organic and inorganic components (salt) of bone decrease. This results in a reduction in quantity of bone. Bones become brittle and lose their elasticity and may fracture easily. Osteoporosis is a silent condition. Often the only indicator to this condition is when a fall and fracture results in medical imaging confirming the Osteoporosis diagnosis.

Osteopenia is a precursor to Osteoporosis but it does not mean you will develop Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis develops progressively as bone loses its calcium concentration, causing bone to become more porous and brittle.

Osteoporosis fracture doesn’t only affect women, in the UK 1/5 of men break a bone because of low bone strength.

Early diagnosis of the condition is essential for proper management. Diagnosis using DEXA scans (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) is used to measure the density of your bones.


Bones provide:

  • support for the body and its cavities (skull, thorax, pelvis)
  • protection for vital structures i.e. heart, brain, Liver
  • mechanical basis of movement
  • storage of salts (inorganic)
  • continuous supply of new blood cells- produced in the marrow of the long bones.


Risk factors for developing Osteoporosis include but not limited to:

  • Smoking
  • History of fracture as adult
  • Early menopause
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Slight build or tendency towards underweight
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Excess sodium intake (salt is a source of sodium)
  • High caffeine intake (more than 4 cups of coffee/tea/energy drinks per day)


Exercise is important in all stages of life. Benefits of regular exercise on bone mass are greatest in childhood and adolescence when peak bone mass can be increased to its greatest level. This has been found to have protective effects in later life.